The ECHR judgment of 01 February 2018 in the case "M.A. (M.A.) v. France" (application No. 9373/15).
In 2015, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to France.
In the case, a complaint was successfully considered for the hasty execution of the decision on expulsion before the interim measure ordering the suspension of the expulsion procedure could be brought to the attention of the authorities. In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant, a citizen of Algeria, was sentenced in 2006 to seven years in prison for taking part in a criminal association for the purpose of preparing terrorist acts (the crimes allegedly committed in various countries, including France and Algeria), and to a ban to stay in France. Beginning in 2010, the applicant was under house arrest awaiting the execution of an additional punishment, the cancellation of which he unsuccessfully solicited. In 2014, the applicant submitted an application for asylum, which was rejected by the Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons of France (Office français de protection des gréfugiés et apatrides (OFPRA)) on 17 February 2015. The applicant was notified only on 20 February 2015, at 9.20, and was deported to Algeria by a flight departing at 4pm. Immediately before that, his lawyer received a decision from the European Court of Justice to take an interim measure ordering the suspension of the expulsion procedure, but the information arrived at the airport too late. Arriving in Algeria, the applicant was immediately detained, then was detained for criminal prosecution.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 3 of the Convention. With regard to the situation in Algeria, there is no new information to question the conclusions reached by the Court in the Daudi v. France judgment (see Daoudi v. France (no. France, of 3 December 2009, complaint No. 19576/08), on the basis of consistent reports of the United Nations Committee against Torture and a number of non-governmental organizations, in particular when it comes to individuals suspected of involvement in international terrorism.
Moreover, the applicant was not only "suspected" of having links to terrorism, but was also convicted of serious acts in France, as was known to the Algerian authorities. Thus, at the time of his expulsion to Algeria, there was a real and serious danger that the applicant would be subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention.
The fact that the applicant had expected almost 14 years before applying for refugee status is certainly surprising, but nevertheless this does not apply to information on which the Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons of France, which is best able to assess the applicant's behavior , based its decision.
Because of the lack of any explanation to assess its nature, the Court also did not accept the Government's objection that other persons convicted of terrorism-related offenses were deported to Algeria without claiming any danger with the views of Article 3 of the Convention.
Concerning compliance with Article 34 of the Convention. Of course, the competent authorities may need to implement the expulsion quickly and efficiently. However, the conditions for such execution should not lead to the deprivation of the expelled person's right to apply to the European Court for application of an interim measure.
However, in the present case, the French authorities have created conditions that make it very difficult for the applicant to submit such a timely application: the decision of 17 February 2015, which rejected the applicant's application for asylum, was brought to their attention only on the day of his expulsion, that is 20 February. The transportation conditions were settled starting at least on February 18, and a pass was received from the Algerian authorities on February 19. These preparations allowed the expulsion of the complainant to Algeria almost seven hours after the applicant was notified of the decision that determined the country of destination.
Thus, the French authorities deliberately and irreversibly limited the level of protection of the rights enshrined in the Convention, the enforcement of which the applicant tried by applying to the European Court. Any determination of a possible violation of the Convention is not effective, since the applicant is now in a country that is not a party to this instrument.
Concerning compliance with Article 46 of the Convention. Given that the applicant is currently under the jurisdiction of a State not party to the Convention, the French authorities have a duty to make every possible effort to obtain from the Algerian authorities concrete and precise guarantees that the applicant has not been and will not be subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 Convention.
Concerning compliance with Article 41 of the Convention. The fact of establishing a violation of the Convention is in itself sufficient just compensation for the moral damage caused to the applicant, the claim for compensation for pecuniary damage was rejected.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention (adopted by six votes "for" at one - "against").
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 34 of the Convention (adopted by six votes "for" at one - "against").